Senior Education Attorney

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty is seeking an experienced attorney to carry out litigation, policy advocacy and outreach to transform the public education system.

We seek a dynamic and creative attorney to work with educational leaders throughout New Mexico on major policy reforms and to bring the state into compliance with the landmark Yazzie/Martinez court decision. In July 2018, families and school districts represented by the Center on Law and Poverty and co-counsel won a historic court ruling that the public education system is insufficient and violates the constitutional rights of students.

The case centers on students who are Native American, English language learner, low-income and special needs students, and the ruling mandates changes to the entire education system — from ensuring quality Pre-K, multicultural and bilingual education, teacher recruitment, adequate curriculum and classroom materials, health and social services, to sufficient funding.

This position will have a central role in ongoing litigation of the Yazzie case, advancing policy advocacy and coalition efforts to transform education, and investigating and litigating new issues related to public education. This attorney will manage and coordinate with legal staff, interns and contractors. Learn more about our education work at: www.nmpovertylaw.org/our-work/education/.

The Center is a nationally recognized non-profit law firm that engages in systemic advocacy and impact litigation to advance the health, economic and educational wellbeing of New Mexico’s families. We partner with our communities to provide advocacy through the courts, the legislature and administrative agencies, and through outreach, education and media. To learn more about the Center, please visit our website at www.nmpovertylaw.org.

Required: minimum seven years as an attorney; strong leadership and strategic thinking skills; passionate about education policy, racial justice and community lawyering; excellent litigator, writer and researcher; ability to manage complex projects; ‘no-stone-unturned’ thoroughness and persistence.  Preferred: Indigenous language or Spanish speaker, experience with lobbying, coalition-building and media.

Apply in confidence by emailing a resume and cover letter to contact@nmpovertylaw.org. We are an equal opportunity employer. Native American and other people of color and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

Peggy Browning Workers’ Rights Fellowship

Our Peggy Browning Fellow will become a member of our workers’ rights litigation and advocacy team, contributing to projects around enforcement of the minimum wage laws, health and safety of dairy workers and farmworkers, and local paid sick time legislation.

For example, in NMCLP’s continued monitoring of comprehensive reforms we won through litigation against the state, our Peggy Browning Fellow will identify issues that arise in individual workers’ cases and advocate with the state.  For years, the state’s enforcement officers followed illegal rules that allowed employers to get away with wage theft.  Although their rules and policies changed due to our lawsuit, we expect to have to apply continued pressure until the culture at the agency is also sufficiently changed.  The Fellow will perform intakes with workers, issue-spot violations, and document discrepancies between the new policies as writte and as carried out. 

The Fellow will also perform farmworker outreach.  We are exploring a possible legislative campaign to remove some of the exclusions from our state’s minimum wage that keep farmworkers from being included in this basic guarantee. We also continue to work to enforce farmworkers’ right to workers’ compensation. In 2016, NMCLP won a lawsuit challenging the exclusion of farmworkers from the state’s workers’ compensation statute.  But many of our state’s 15,000 farmworkers continue to work for labor contractors who refuse to provide benefits to workers who are injured.  The Fellow will identify agricultural employers who are violating the law and advocate with the Workers’ Compensation Administration to levy penalties on non-compliant employers.

NMCLP will also be supporting efforts by Bernalillo County to enforce a paid time off ordinance passed by the County in August 2019 that goes into effect in July 2020.  NMCLP is a member of a broad coalition of organizations that advocated for the ordinance.  The ordinance requires employers to provide employees paid time off, with the minimum number of hours increasing each year until it eventually reaches 56 hours in 2022.  The County has committed to create a robust enforcement regime. Our Peggy Browning Fellow will develop training materials on workers’ rights under the ordinance.

Strong written advocacy skills are essential. We are open to working with 1Ls or 2Ls, and will give strong preference to law students with roots in New Mexico or who plan to practice in New Mexico upon graduation. While Spanish-language ability is a plus, it is not a requirement of this fellowship.

The total ten-week stipend for this fellowship will be $6,000.

To apply, visit https://www.peggybrowningfund.org/fellowships/for-law-students/fellowship-application-form to fill out the fellowship application form.

Paid Summer Internship

Spend your summer fighting for social justice!

The Seth D. Montgomery Fellowship is a paid 10-week, full-time position at the Center for an outstanding first or second year law student. The Fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend and will work closely with our attorneys in one or more of our areas of work, doing legal research, drafting pleadings and advocacy materials, and performing issue analysis, investigation and outreach to affected communities. The Fellow will learn about the Center’s unique model for advancing justice through creative lawyering and advocacy, and develop skills to become an effective advocate for social change.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2019

To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and law school transcript to Sovereign Hager contact@nmpovertylaw.org. Enter in the Subject Heading: “Seth Montgomery Fellowship”. If you have a particular interest in one of our areas of work, let us know about it in your cover letter.

Fall, Spring, and Summer Externships

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty allows selected law students the opportunity to earn credits while working under the supervision of a licensed attorney as part of an Externship Program. Students will have the opportunity to work in the areas of healthcare, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, public benefits, hunger and nutritional support, and public education. For questions regarding externships, please contact Staff Attorney Abuko Estrada at abuko@nmpovertylaw.org or Preston Sanchez at preston@nmpovertylaw.org.